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Okatibbe Lake, located a few miles northwest of Meridian in the Pines Region of eastern Mississippi, is a nature lover's retreat and water enthusiast's playground. Situated in Lauderdale County off of State Highway 19, Okatibbe Lake offers 28 miles of shoreline as well as five swimming beaches and a water park. Recreational activities are numerous and include swimming, camping, hunting, fishing, wild life viewing, picnicking and boating.
Okatibbee Lake was created by impounding the Okatibbe Creek as a U.S. Corps of Engineers project. Authorized by Congress in 1962 primarily for flood reduction, the earthen constructed Okatibbee Dam now stands 72 feet high and stretches 6,620 feet long. Upon completion in 1968, Okatibbe Lake provides recreation and drinking water purposes as well as flood reduction.
Fishing is excellent on Okatibbee Lake, with more than 20 fish attractors and several bream beds constructed in the lake. Largemouth and striped bass, catfish, crappie, and bream are some of the fish anglers enjoy sinking their lines in to catch. Both forage and game fish are stocked annually with the cooperative management of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
During the mild fall and winter weather, hunters come out to Okatibbee Lake's public hunting areas where they enjoy the abundance of deer, rabbit, squirrel, ducks, geese, quail, dove and woodcock. A free hunting permit can be obtained at the Okatibbee Wildlife Management Office. As part of the wildlife management program and to promote population of nongame and game animals and birds, the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks plant food plots, place nesting boxes, clear brush selectively, and plant mud flats with grain during low water. Over 6,000 acres of land are licensed to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks for management purposes.
The beautiful bottomland forest surrounding Okatibbee Lake is a nature lover's paradise. In addition to game animals, lake visitors may spot the endangered American Alligator which is a permanent lake resident. Also during the migration seasons, Bald Eagles may be seen by observant bird watchers. The East Bank Damsite Public Use Area provides an overlook which gives a breathtaking view of the dam and lake and is another great palace to view wildlife.
Okatibbee Lake offers fun for the whole family. Lake amenities include ball fields, picnic tables, swimming beaches, volleyball areas, horse-shoe pits as well as numerous campsites and day use areas. Lake Visitors have the choice of two campgrounds the Twiltley Branch Campground run by the Corps and the Okatibbee Water Park run by the Pat Harrison Waterway District. Both campgrounds have electric hookups, water and restrooms. The Okatibbee Water Park has two waterslides, a children?s pool with small slide, and an inner tube river ride. The Water Park is also known as Splashdown Country. For those less inclined to camp Okatibbee Water Park also has a 25-room motel.
Visitors to Okatibbee Lake can sink their feet into the beautiful refreshing waters or sun on the many beaches. With all the Okatibbe Lake has to offer it is no wonder visitors return time and time again.
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